Testimonial

Behind The Scenes - July 2018

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EDI wouldn't be what it is today without the amazing support network that we have. In the Behind The Scenes blog series, we pull back the curtain to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes to let our greatest supporters truly shine. These are the facilitators, program chairs, coaches, Board members, Alumni Ambassador Board members, and all supporters that make EDI happen. Without further ado, meet Anh Vo.

"Did you know Asians make up only 5% of all executives in the US?  Does this statistic shock you?  It does me. We hold many professional jobs and we are the one group with the fastest hiring rate.  In Silicon Valley, 47% of professionals are Asian.  When I look at Microsoft and Amazon, I extrapolate that percentage and it certainly seems true in Seattle.  So, it seems like we are hirable but not promotable, at least to the very top.  Why is this?

This topic is why I am so excited to share my thoughts with you.  Even as the numbers tell us that we have work to do to climb the corporate ladder, I am grateful for organizations like EDI and all the facilitators, coaches, alums and staff who work tirelessly to tip the balance in our favor.  That is one of the reasons why I love being associated with EDI.  I know that through my work either coaching in the Leadership Navigation Program or facilitating a training in the Puget Sound Leadership Discovery Program; I am doing my little part to help get us ahead.  I truly believe that when one of us succeeds, we all succeed. It opens the door for all of us. 

As an executive coach and organizational development practitioner; leadership development is my calling.  How many of us equate our work experience whether good or bad with the quality of our manager?  AND we need our managers to support our career growth.  That is why I love my job.  I love helping leaders learn about themselves and how they can be better leaders.  For me, I look at every coaching exchange as a teaching and learning opportunity for the both of us.  I too am continuously learning about how to be a better leader.  Maybe that is the beauty of it all, we help each other grow.  

EDI helps us grow and in turn, we help EDI grow.  Each year, I am inspired by the new cohort of leaders and the learning opportunities.  Many of you feel the same way.  Somehow in this wonderful learning environment, where we don’t have to do the math of how many Asians are in the room, we not only get to be who we are but grow into who we want to become.  I am grateful for EDI. I am blessed to have been a part of EDI.  And as it is in the circle of life, I do my best to give back to EDI.  As I started this post with a question, it seems fitting that I end with a question.  A question that I invite all of us to ponder.  I wonder what else I can do to help further EDI and our Asian community?"

- Anh Vo

Alumni On The Move - June 2018

An Hoang

Portland Discovery, Class of 2014

I moved to Minnesota in 2016 for family reasons, after spending more than a decade in Portland. I brought with me great memories with family, friends and work. I started my new work as the Senior Project Engineer position at Phillips and Temro Industries. I was responsible for the Heavy Duty OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) engine heater design, focusing both on maintaining the North America customer base and winning new business with the European OEM. After almost 2 years, I was promoted as the first Project Manager in the company. I’m responsible for leading strategic projects, developing electric vehicle battery heating technologies, and establishing the production footprint in Asia. My new company has literally taken me around the world and I’m excited for the next journey to unfold.

I’m grateful for my learning with EDI. It has helped me greatly in discovering my strengths, in self-reflecting and finding clarity on what I want to achieve with my career. EDI helped me to become more courageous in fighting for what I want and paving my own path. Being the first Project Manager in my current company is an example of that.

The lessons I learned from EDI, and especially the tutoring from my late mentor, Alan Sugiyama, not only help me in my professional life but also my personal life.  I now make an effort to give back to my communities, whether it’s volunteering with my PMP chapter, my Vietnamese community, or just to be more of a big brother in my soccer team.

I miss my classmates at EDI. They were my great support and I follow their journey cheering for their success. I hope my story would play its small part in keeping the EDI community strong, just as how the EDI shared stories have been motivating me to be better person.


May Leong

Leadership Navigation, Class of 2011

I recently became Deputy Director of the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco and I’m thrilled to be part of an arts nonprofit whose mission is dedicated to elevating underserved communities and giving voice to equality through education and contemporary art.

In my current role, I focus on developing fundraising strategies that include Board engagement and support, while working closely with a senior leadership team to grow individual, corporate, and earned revenue funding. I’m also designing an impactful Donor cultivation and stewardship program to strengthen and leverage the CCC brand. Learning more about the arts has been gratifying and a long-term personal goal of mine, so working in this new field is an exciting new experience.

EDI has played a huge part in my success since graduating from the Navigation program. I have enjoyed keeping in touch with my classmates and in fact joined the Board of Spreeha Foundation (spreeha.org), a nonprofit founded by fellow EDI classmate, Tazin Shadid.

Spreeha provides healthcare, education, and career training for residents in the slums of Bangladesh and has served an exponential number of poor children and their families since its humble beginnings. Today it is one of the few nonprofits serving the displaced Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, by providing essential things like toilets, wells for clean water, and healthcare. The sheer scale of the crisis is mind-blowing. I’m so proud of the staff, volunteers, and donors who work so hard to help break the cycle of poverty and serve this population.

A few years ago, my family and I moved back to the San Francisco Bay area and said goodbye to our home of 14 years in Seattle. From 2013 – 2017 I served as Executive Director at Donaldina Cameron House, a faith-based nonprofit where I got to work with an amazing staff to provide social services and youth leadership programs in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

My EDI classmates will be happy to hear I finally finished my first novel, a Young Adult Fantasy adventure about a mom and her daughter who save our world, separately. Currently I’m sending out query letters to find an agent and publisher. I actually look forward to seeing how many rejections it takes to get a positive reply! JK Rowling received 12 rejections and Dr. Seuss received 27. So I’ll either beat these odds by getting more or less.

Throughout these years I’ve also consulted by providing workshop trainings for emerging leaders and nonprofit Boards in the area of fund development and leadership. The lessons I learned from EDI about emotional intelligence and authenticity are skills and tools that I savor and use each day.

I have enjoyed building my career in a way that aligns perfectly with my life’s mission of building community and global citizens, one local person at a time.  

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sailor by heart and I’m pleased to report that my husband and I are the proud owners of a 1986 41-foot Hans Christian sailboat, named Taiko. Whenever we have some free time we try to go sailing on the Bay.

If any EDI alumni are down in the SF Bay area please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always open to connecting and helping to elevate and support the next generation of young and/or experienced leaders.

Alumni On The Move - May 2018

Katherine Tsai Martinez (2nd from left) with the Matt Griffin YMCA Board

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2017

Since graduating from the 2017 Leadership Discovery Program, I have been busy holding myself accountable on defining what my authentic best is and practicing it daily. One of the major takeaways from the program was, the longer I continued to create boundaries and limits on what I can and cannot do, I will never be the authentic leader that I want to be.

Being inspired to take chances, I successfully transitioned into a new finance role a few months before graduating from the Discovery Program. After being in Supplier Management at Boeing for two years, I accepted a role at Boeing Capital as a Treasury and Risk Analyst. I have never been one to not push myself to excel in the workplace but through EDI’s Leadership Discovery Program, I realized that I wanted to be a strong contributor at work, whom not only performs at their job functions but leads and inspires others as a diverse leader. In addition, I have become more active in Boeing’s Asian Professionals Association where I am currently the Co-Chair for their 2018 LEAD program. The LEAD program is an 8-month leadership program focused on developing diverse Boeing Professionals within the company.

The Discovery Program's community service project inspired me to be active again in the community. For our team project, we chose to support the Matt Griffin YMCA and held a fundraising event which generated more than $2,000 for their after-school programs. Seeing the impact of our fundraiser, I was compelled to join the Matt Griffin Board. 

I’m so appreciative of everything that I learned from EDI. I have made some great relationships from the program, it is so nice to have a genuine network. I am proud of where I am at both professionally and personally. Thanks to EDI, I can confidently say that I am a leader that graciously welcomes new challenges and refuses to create boundaries and limits on what I can and cannot do.


Jacob Esparza

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2015

I recently accepted an amazing opportunity at Facebook as a Program Manager.  I am working on a team called Business Integrity New Products where I am a central point leading cross-functional teams in identifying risks to new product launches.  My role is responsible for assessing risks, influencing policy creation, creating review processes, and facilitating the setup of KPIs to track success.  This role was a huge opportunity for me after I made the jump from aerospace into tech last year.

EDI has played a huge part in my successes since graduating. The EDI lessons that stuck with me were the importance of not only networking but using my network to help build my confidence to make big moves through being self-aware and to always push myself. The ability to continuously use the tools that EDI helped fill my toolbox with is a priceless gift that I am very thankful to have received.

I am extremely honored by this new adventure and am also excited to start using one of the other things that EDI taught me, which is giving back.  My husband and I are partnering with the rescue that we adopted one of our dogs from to throw a fundraising event to support their efforts in rescuing dogs, cats and horses from Mexico and finding them homes.  We are huge dog lovers and are looking forward to giving back to an organization that means a lot to us!

Alumni on the Move - April 2018

Mellissa Nguon    Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2016   

Mellissa Nguon

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2016 

I was recently promoted to Business Manager for the Boeing Global Services, Supply Chain Execution Commercial Fulfillment organization.  In my new role, I will be using my leadership and project management skills to support executive reviews, business requirements, special initiatives, and process improvements.  I also represent as one of the leaders for the Supply Chain LEAN Operational Excellence Team with a mission to help empower and enable my team members to be excellent by promoting a people-centered and customer-focused culture.

Additionally, I’ve stepped up to serve as the new Co-Chair of the Introduction to Boeing New Models and Derivatives Committee for the International Airlines Technical Pool (IATP). I'll have the opportunity to deliver presentations, meet with airline customers and leaders of the Aviation industry, and travel to different international destinations twice a year. 

Last but not least, I was recently elected to Chair the Boeing Global Services Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Renton site, to help strengthen the business and achieve world-class results by leveraging diverse perspectives to promote a culture of inclusion, engagement, and personal accountability as well as developing and empowering employees through education, values, and experiences and engagement with our Leaders. 

I’m grateful for these opportunities, but success does require on-going commitment, hard work, and patience.  For me, it’s been a continuous journey toward growth and development, and it’s especially important to celebrate small or big successes along the way, like recently obtaining my Project Management Professional (PMP) credential.  Currently, I’m an MBA candidate with Syracuse University and targeting to receive my MBA degree with a concentration in Data Analytics by June of 2019. 

I’m always working to improve on myself whether it is in my personal or professional life.  I’m also a community volunteer for NW Harvest and help organize and execute volunteer events at the Kent Warehouse to collect, sort, and package items to distribute to food banks across the Puget Sound.  As an EDI Alumni, I realized that completing the program produced many positive outcomes, such as giving me that extra boost to jumpstart my career and the confidence to succeed and be a mentally stronger, more authentic leader.  I enjoy what I do every day as I get to tap into my fullest potential and have the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally.  I believe that if you work hard enough and persistently pursue your goals, you will get to where you want to be in time.  Throughout my career with The Boeing Company, I have had a chance to see the world by supporting business trips in Montreal, Canada; Penang, Malaysia; Okinawa, Japan; Dublin, Ireland, and most recently, Riga, Latvia.  If you are interested in following me on my global adventures, you can add me on Instagram @globetrotter_melly.

**Photo Credit: Ainsley DS Photography**


April Tomlinson  (in red) poses with fellow EDI Alums Tommy Sisa-at, Carmen Marttila, and Joann Miranda  Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2017

April Tomlinson (in red) poses with fellow EDI Alums Tommy Sisa-at, Carmen Marttila, and Joann Miranda

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2017

EDI! The program helped me feel more comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone and asking for feedback. I consulted business partners and leaders in my organization and through those conversations, I decided to take a leap outside of retail banking after nearly 10 years. I applied and was hired as a Merchant Service Advisor for KeyBank.

In my new role, I partner with over 30 branches in south Puget Sound and work with local business owners to grow and succeed in their communities. This position challenges me in leadership, organization and networking but I am loving every moment of it.

I am thrilled to say that I’ve also recently accepted a role aside Carmen Marttila as the Vice President of our Hispanic Latino Keybank Impact Networking Group. EDI has helped renew my passion around community involvement and I look forward to sharing our activities and how we’ve partnered with organizations like El Centro de la Raza throughout the year to make a difference! EDI helped me to embrace my authentic best self and i’m leading with energy, enthusiasm and passion both in my daily work activities and in my community.

EDI helped me to grow so much that I decided to stay involved and join the Alumni Board as the Vice President. Partnering with the other alums and being able to sit in on the executive board retreat has already been a fantastic experience. I am excited to share EDI with the community and want to see them grow and succeed.

Alumni on the Move - February 2018

Chihao Mac   Portland Discovery, Class of 2015

Chihao Mac

Portland Discovery, Class of 2015

I was recently promoted to Senior Engineer within the Advanced Engineering team at Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). In this new role, I will be responsible for the development and implementation of various innovative designs for our trucks. Along with this promotion, I have also recently become the Chair for the Asian Resource Network (ARN), one of the many employee resource groups at DTNA. I will be utilizing the various tools that I have learned in EDI to help lead our core team for this year.

Since graduating from EDI in 2015, there have been many changes in my life both personally and professionally. On the personal side, I got married and bought my first home. On the professional side, I changed groups and have been a lot more active in ARN and in the community. One thing that stuck with me from EDI is a great leader gives back to the community. ARN helped me participate in EDI, so I believe in its cause and enjoy offering support.

There are so many tools you learn from going through EDI that will help you become a better leader and help you advance in your professional career. Here are some of them that have been keys to my success:

  • Communication, both verbally and non-verbally, is a very important skill to have. This will allow you to work effectively with others and understand each other. I have found this to be very important in my personal life as well.
  • Networking is a big deal. As you learn from EDI, it’s not who you know, but who knows you.
  • Self-awareness and the understanding of others' perceptions of me has been an eye-opener. I learned this early on at EDI and always think back to this topic. I try to stay aware of my behaviors and the impact it has on others.

Lynda Racicot  Portland Discovery, Class of 2017

Lynda Racicot

Portland Discovery, Class of 2017

My new position is a Credit Risk Analyst at Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). I’m responsible for providing financial reviews and credit scores for customers and vendors in order to mitigate market and credit risk for BPA. This is a promotional opportunity, which has allowed me to learn about different aspects of BPA’s business. Previously I had worked in BPA’s Asset Accounting department for six (6) years and became a subject matter expert in that area. Through EDI, I realized that I was living in my comfort zone with my work in accounting and needed to push myself once again into the learning zone with a new role.

My dad ultimately inspired me to pursue a professional career in accounting and compliance. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and served as a special agent for the IRS for 20 years. He truly enjoyed his work and had great stories to tell. My favorite was one about a farmer who he investigated for submitting a fraudulent tax return for his pig, Waterhole Willie, as it was written on his tax forms! While I was working on my accounting degree, my dad and I would talk about everything I was learning and he would share his knowledge of the stock market and economy. Unfortunately, my dad passed away a few years ago, but I know he would’ve been excited to hear that I am now working in an area that we spent so much time talking about.

Alumni on the Move - January 2018

Nigel Lo recently stepped into the role of CEO at Kin On, a not-for-profit health and services provider for the Asian community.

Nigel Lo   Discovery, Class of 1997

Nigel Lo

Discovery, Class of 1997

Challenge Yourself & Chase Your Dream

One of the benefits of retirement is to have the leisure of trying something new and to pursue the hobbies and work that I have always wanted to do. During my retirement, I enjoyed working on home improvement projects and playing the game of golf. I also loved teaching at the Renton library and the Chinese Information and Service Center. Believe it or not, I've also learned how to sing karaoke and perform with a live band. I was very happy to partake in all these activities, but in my heart, I always wanted to re-engage with the community in a more significant way. When the opportunity at Kin On was open, I jumped right in.

The CEO of Kin On is responsible for the overall financial and operational performance of the entire organization. Kin On has various business segments including the skilled-nursing facility, in-home care services, and Healthy Living programs. We are also building a new assisted living and adult family home apartments. There is a lot of growth opportunity to integrate these business segments seamlessly in the Kin On Continuum Care model. The challenges that I can foresee in a non-profit organization could be in the establishment and implementation of processes and procedures. A non-profit sometimes does not have the resources to develop and update processes and procedures as quickly and effectively as needed. There are state regulations to be met and complied with. So what is it that an engineer and project manager like me could do to take charge of this elder care enterprise?

Looking back, many leadership skills and philosophies that I learned throughout my career at The Boeing Company have prepared me for this role. The fundamental principles on managing a business regardless if it’s a profit or nonprofit organization are essentially the same. You must think strategically and have a strong vision.

During my preparation for the Kin On interview, I began to realize there are many similarities between working at Boeing and Kin On. Both jobs have profit and loss responsibility and strong management obligation. The leadership attributes requirements are very similar as well. The ability on charting the course, delivering results, setting high expectations, and inspiring the teams is imperative.

My time at EDI was also a rewarding professional development experience. Twenty years ago, my EDI community project was to work with Kin On. In other words, where I am at right now was because of EDI and I am very grateful for that. Through the EDI program, the leadership development learning in regards to understanding the Asian culture, its strength and challenges, and leveraging the experience is simply remarkable. It helped my career at Boeing and now I can fully utilize the leadership development at Kin On. I feel fortunate and honored to have this opportunity to lead the Kin On team.

Over the years, there are mentors and colleagues who have always stood by and supported me. They are great role models and inspiring individuals who I always learning from. I count on their honest feedback and advice. At the personal level, family and friends who understand my goals and aspiration, always encourage me to chase my dreams and offer good advice along the way. I treasure this network of mentors and supporters in my life.

Some final words:

Leadership skills are transferable. I am a living example of it. I encourage the future leaders focus on developing a set of leadership skills and gaining experiences that you can articulate when you progress in your current assignment or at your next big opportunity. These soft skills will differentiate you from another equally capable individual and open doors that you might not have thought of.

Find your passion. I have never thought that it would be possible to go from building airplanes to managing an elderly care enterprise. And here I am! When you can combine leadership skills and passion, you have a very good chance of achieving your dreams.

Think big! Stop worrying about level, rank, title, and money. Start focusing on personal and professional development. Believe in yourself and use your talents to do something that creates an impact in making the world better.

Joining Kin On as the new CEO is a wonderful opportunity to contribute and engage with the community in a meaningful way. My mother, sister, and uncle are all residing in different elderly care facilities. This opportunity cannot be more relevant to me than any other positions in my career. I am very excited to lead the teams and take Kin On to the next level and make a difference where it matters.


Gerald Giacchi   Discovery, Class of 2016

Gerald Giacchi

Discovery, Class of 2016

My new position is Category Engineering Director for Young Athletes Footwear at Nike, Inc., managing the engineering and manufacturing strategic plan of the category and managing four engineers. I am planning to understand and master the position in the next 2-3 years.

EDI has been the trigger to build self confidence in reaching the new position. I had a chance the few months after my graduation to give a presentation about my learnings to footwear leadership; they were very impressed and felt confident to give me the new position.

The biggest challenge is the transition from managing projects to managing people, you need to develop totally different skills (EQ is the first that come to my mind). I don’t know yet about successes or failure because I am new to the position, but I will wait for the end of fiscal year to get feedback.

Definitively all the EDI training (guest speakers and EDI friends like Jeff Racicot) have inspired me. I also had few Nike mentors who inspired me. My dad is also a huge inspiration; he used to manage a factory.

My advice for others is to gain self-confidence (the most challenging person you have to deal with is…yourself!). Feel that you are ready for the next position and communicate to your managers. My main motivation is now the four engineers I manage; my goals is to have them reach their full potential and achieve their own goals.